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Chapter 1. Edge Resiliency Is Critical to Your Business

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they’re trying to access. It’s where impressions are made—or fail.

Traditionally, companies have focused on the user experience as

they interacted in expected, or unexpected, ways across the network.

However, just as important, each edge location can also be a portal

for instability and threats. These can come from unintentional side

effects such as attempts to meet high-traffic requirements, physical

infrastructure challenges (e.g., from a natural disaster), or deliberate

attacks from bad actors.

The simple reality is that if your company relies on cloud-hosted

applications, which more and more are these days, internet volatility

now has a greater impact on your business than at any given time in

the past. The large numbers of medium-to-large enterprises that

have been moving into hybrid and multicloud implementations only

magnifies the scope and likelihood of an impact.

For the past few years, medium- to large-sized enterprises have been

transitioning away from doing everything in-house to using hosting

providers to support a sophisticated global presence. This is a natu‐

ral evolution as organizations scale, so this book will touch on the

due diligence they need to perform; the problems they might

encounter; and what they can do to optimize their performance,

security posture, balance workloads, and steer traffic more effi‐

ciently in a hybrid cloud or multicloud environment.

The shift from hosting corporate applications on-premises to using

cloud-based service providers is an accepted practice for doing busi‐

ness today. And, like any key corporate resource, companies need to

safeguard and protect it. Network resiliency (especially at the user

edge) is your insurance policy against internet-based disruptions.

Additionally, more organizations have begun to deploy multicloud

environments using additional vendors or a private infrastructure to

support their businesses. This dynamic will continue to grow, taking

advantage of diversity and performance-based cloud services.

Granted, when you depend on internet services that are a “black

box,” some aspects will be out of your direct control. In those areas,

your business must rely somewhat on trust—trust in those who have

constructed today’s complex internet, trust in the partners you work

with, and trust that the infrastructure you’ve invested in will mostly

work reliably and appropriately. However, trust is not a strategy:

24/7 global businesses face new exposures each day. To combat these

challenges, businesses must take responsibility for resiliency. In this



Chapter 1: Edge Resiliency Is Critical to Your Business

way, they can gain direct control to insure against the risks. And it

all starts by understanding the approaches that you can take to

accomplish this goal.

What You Will Learn

In the remaining chapters, we discuss these approaches and offer

insight and strategies for creating resiliency at the edge. The goal is

to stabilize internet volatility, whatever the source. The critical topics

we cover include the following:

• Recognizing volatility sources

• Optimizing performance and balancing workloads amid inter‐

net volatility

• Steering traffic more efficiently

• Strengthening your security posture—not just in a traditional

datacenter, but also in a hybrid and/or multicloud environment

• Working with DNS infrastructure, managed DNS, and edge


We discuss common challenges and present clear examples to

demonstrate the benefits of using managed DNS infrastructure to

strengthen edge resiliency. And we offer assessment criteria for

when you are deciding whether to incorporate a managed DNS pro‐

vider into your resiliency strategy. This, will, in turn, provide

options and strengthen your ability to manage, challenge, and work

around any internet threats, disruption, or volatility.

Intended Book Audience

We wrote this book for IT managers to help them proactively enable

a resiliency strategy in the face of planned and unplanned events

from the user edge to the applications and services those users are

trying to reach. Our goal is to help you prevent challenges that could

have a negative impact on customer satisfaction and business out‐

comes. Business leaders must be aware and plan for these challenges

before they happen, because today, our customers, our employees,

and our reputations are all “living on the edge.”

What You Will Learn




Exposing Buried Threats to Your

Business Network

In today’s always-on, fast-paced, and infinitely connected world,

customers take for granted that networks will just work. Terms such

as high-availability and 99.999% uptime are tossed out as absolutes

in sales conversations and customer engagements. Yet, the basis for

such assertions is uncertain at best and completely unrealistic

without a plan for dealing with services at the edge.

In this chapter, we survey the classes of challenges to the networks

and applications that your business and your users depend on. Iden‐

tifying these challenges can help you to see where you are exposed—

and where you need to focus resources so that your customers aren’t

exposed to the effects of their disruption.

We begin at the lowest level—the systems that underlie the data

channels you depend on.

Vulnerability When the Internet Is Your

Network Backbone

The internet is based on a set of strategically connected “backbone”

networks that are based on localized nodes. The nodes are, in turn,

based on other systems and many smaller networks connecting

those devices. The key communication components that allow the

internet to function are managed and owned by a combination of

telecommunications (telco) companies, ISPs, and leased or pur‐


chased fiber implementations that provide connectivity from point

to point—all with their own vulnerabilities. Though these core sys‐

tems are hardened with monitoring and security measures, they are

not entirely insulated from internet volatility due to the multitude of

interwoven and interconnected parts.

Even in an environment in which you pay for dedicated cloud serv‐

ices, the public transit network is rarely within your control beyond

the terms of service. The immediate network resources your busi‐

ness relies on might be totally owned and managed by the cloud

provider. Or they might be dependent on or farmed out to a combi‐

nation of multiple private companies that depend on other vendors.

Each link in this critical chain must plan for and manage potential

impacts, such as scheduled maintenances, aging equipment, turn‐

over of support staff, and evolving technology.

Even if the network components are managed and sound, that in

itself is not enough. Today’s businesses don’t just run directly on a

physical box in a datacenter. More and more applications and envi‐

ronments are being virtualized, losing the distinction of how and

where exactly they run. In this kind of ephemeral environment, it is

more important than ever that we understand the virtual network

landscape. This is the subject of our next section.

Virtualization and Outsourcing of Services

Above the core of your network are the systems and applications

that run your business. You might still have some dedicated hard‐

ware within the territory that you own and operate, but these days it

is more common for the systems to be virtualized and running in

the hosted cloud. As long as you have a basic “map” to guide you as

your applications are deployed, you might feel that you have fewer

concerns. But, at the same time, you have less control because you

can’t always get to the actual systems themselves given that the cloud

provider manages them. This paradoxical “less is more” implemen‐

tation forms another point of interplay with your edge services that

must be considered.

Perceptions in these areas have had to evolve along with the tech‐

nologies. A few short decades ago, it was common for companies to

have large datacenters with on-premises hardware and staff to man‐

age the targeted needs of the business. Problems were usually local‐



Chapter 2: Exposing Buried Threats to Your Business Network

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